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10 Safety Tips for Extreme Winter Travel

Posted December 6, 2017

10 Safety Tips for Extreme Winter Weather

For fleet drivers, winter weather is an unavoidable force of nature. Road conditions can become dangerous very quickly. Therefore, having a winter driving safety checklist is not an option – it’s a requirement.

Winter conditions bring obstacles such as reduced visibility, icy roads, and more.

Trekking through the winter-affected roads is not only a higher risk for the drivers, but it is also stressful for fleet managers. Collisions are more prevalent; routes can be blocked by snow and ice; and vehicles can quickly freeze over.

A checklist is important in order to prevent profit losses due to inefficiencies caused by winter weather conditions, and to ensure driver safety and the safety of everyone else on the road.

This checklist of 10 helpful tips will give you a starting point so you can be prepared when winter weather strikes.

1. Perform routine maintenance.

This will help safeguard against situations such as flat tires caused by low tire pressure, more common with colder air. Radiators could freeze over if the engine isn’t flushed with antifreeze. Help eliminate the issue of reduced visibility by checking that the windshield wipers and defrosters are in good working condition.

2. Get the most powerful battery that can fit in the vehicle.

Battery power drops much more significantly in colder weather. Risking a drive with a low battery could mean a stranded driver and vehicle out of commission.

3. Educate yourself and your drivers frequently.

With the dangers of the roads during winter, your drivers can never be too smart or prepared.

4. Make sure to reduce speed and increase following distance.

Those two reminders alone can make all the difference. Also be aware to turn into a skid, not away from it. Regaining control happens more quickly that way.

5. Keep windshields clear.

It’s important to periodically clear windshields of snow and ice as needed. Wipe away snow from headlights and taillights. This makes the vehicle more visible to other drivers on the road.

6. Do not overcorrect when sliding.

Doing so could cause the vehicle to spin around dangerously.

7. Keep wiper blades up.

When the vehicles are not in use, this prevents blades from getting frozen and stuck to the windshield.

8. Be patient and avoid passing other vehicles.

If you happen to get stuck behind a slow-moving car or snow plow, it can be tempting to pass them, but don’t. The road ahead may be in worse condition.

9. If snowed in your vehicle, stay inside the cab.

Leaving the vehicle can release warmth and be more dangerous. It’s also easier to spot a car/truck than a person during hazardous conditions.

10. Finally, during wintry conditions, always wear non-slip shoes and gloves.

Try to keep three points of contact at all times when entering or exiting the vehicle.

Winter is an ominous season in the fleet industry, but it can be much less perilous when you have gone through a thorough checklist like the one above, and taken the necessary steps to be prepared.